Eco Fashion Week 8th Edition - Holt Renfrew Charity Shopping Night + Obakki Trunk Show

by guest writer Helen Siwak - owner of Kitsilano Kitty's Closet and Vit Vit Vegan.

Upon entering off Granville Street, the Obakki runway set-up seemed simple enough – a few rows of pristine white chairs, bright lights and ribboned stanchions – all located just inside the doors of Holt Renfrew. Organizers, sponsors, and volunteers rushed around mannequins and luxury displays, whispering into walkie-talkies, while photographers popped light settings.

Those familiar with the interior of Holt Renfrew know of the stacking circular lay-out of three floors connected with escalators. The architecture lent itself to the creation of a truly unique fashion experience. Soon the doors opened and an exuberant crowd swarmed the floors bringing a myriad of bright colours, textures and selfie flashes. Fresh brewed David's Tea and BE Coconut water spritzers were sipped and bags of sweet coconut chips were dug into. Not only was this an RVSP fashion event but also a shopping event as it was announced 10% of all shopping proceeds for the evening would be donated to The Obakki Foundation.

Image by Kuna Photography

After an hour of posing, mingling and networking, Eco Fashion Week co-founder Myriam Laroche greeted everyone with her usual perk and charm. This was followed closely by Treana Peake, creative designer and founder of Obakki*, who spoke to the crowd with her young son hugging her waist. Her drive, passion and philanthropy touched everyone and with a rousing round of applause the runway show began.

Images by Kuna Photography

Images by Kuna Photography

The collection was uncomplicated yet sophisticated with clean body hugging lines and luxurious fabrics in soft natural colours and neutral tones. Mostly versatile day looks, each piece had the potential to be converted to a night look by belting and with the addition of strong accessories.

Images by Kuna Photography

The chic looks traveled not only the runway but continued past the end onto the showroom floors and up and down the escalators! Attendees were able to watch as the garments were showcased not only in a professional runway setting but how they would move in everyday activities, such as shopping in a crowded mall or presenting at a business luncheon.

3 Center images by Photos: Bijan Dharas & Reiko Katayama, 2 outside images by Bryon Dauncey

The hair and make-up for the models was fresh and relaxed without being too simplistic. Calgary based German husband and wife team, Marc and Anna Riese (hair and make-up respectively) worked with local talent to create natural looks with La Biosthetique cruelty-free products. I had the opportunity to speak with them pre-show about the choices they made to compliment the collection.

Image by Helen Siwak
Marc created two looks for the dual season themed runway show. The first being a fresh spring look with a low side part and pony tail tied with simple elastic for an unfinished urban look. The fall look had loose hair and incorporated a tiny cornrow along the low side part then the hair was smoothed backwards. To maintain the looks, the team used La Bioesthetique’s Luxury Spa Oil for straightening the hair, the Beach Effect Styling Spray for a gritty ‘by the ocean’ feel and finished looks with their classic Formule Laque dry hair spray.

Images by Kuna Photography
Anna explained that the make-up for the spring looks would have a very glossy peachy eye for a natural dewy look, a touch of ‘grandma pinched your cheek’ blush and natural lip colour. The fall look would use more texture, still with very natural with eyes defined by matt taupe shadow, slight mascara and highlighter on cheeks, centre nose and cupid bow. The lips would be pearly but neutral and dusted with Sugar Candy.

Image by Ed Ng Photography

When the last model traversed the final span of the runway, I realized that Obakki had showed us luxurious and feminine pieces suitable for many different body types which make this collection accessible to the buying public and in turn means more revenue for this charitable foundation and its good works.

Congratulations to Ashleigh Said for keeping everyone coordinated and calm, the volunteers for knowing their stuff and to all others involved to make this closing night event such a great success. For those who missed it, the Spring/Summer Obakki line will be available at Holt Renfrew soon as part of the charitable H Project shop (second floor across from Prada).

Images by Kuna Photography

* Obakki was founded in 2005 by Treana Peake in Vancouver, BC. Collections are created, designed and manufactured locally and support The Obakki Foundation which is Obakki’s philanthropic counterpart and registered charity. With a focus on providing clean water and education in Africa, the Obakki Foundation has provided over 500 water wells and built 12 schools in South Sudan and Cameroon.

Images by Kuna Photography

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Check out Helen Siwak's two great businesses!

KITSILANO KITTY'S CLOSET - Online and local Vancouver re-seller of new/pre-loved luxury and vintage collections & collectibles. Gucci, Prada, Versace, Dior, Chanel and more all at super discounts! Private shopping & inhome parties!

VIT VIT VEGAN - Interested in a starting or maintaining a plant-based diet? Vit Vit Vegan provides home-style weekly food packages (breakfast, lunch, dinner) that are affordable, convenient and delicious! Customizable for young and old, gluten-free and diabetic. Solo packages starting at $50/week. Delivery